A horror-obsessed teenager discovers that his next door neighbour is a murderous vampire. He tries to convince the police, his family and friends but to no avail. Now, he must take matters into his own hands.
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.
Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he commit suicide to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Landis stated about Elmer Bernstien writing the score as "a big, bombastic, frightening piece of music". See more »
When Doctor Hirsch is reading the newspaper about the murders, the first paragraphs of the news story relate to the murders, but the following paragraphs (in smaller font) relate to a completely different story (demonstrations by the New National Front). See more »
That way is Proctor, and over here is the moors. I go this way.
Thanks for the ride, sir. You have lovely sheep.
Boys, keep off the moors, stick to the roads. The best to ya...
[then to the sheep]
We'll miss you.
See more »
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy star as themselves. See more »
both entertaining as a technical marvel, as comedy, and even as horror
John Landis has one of his most memorable films, as it challenges him as a director of comedy and horror, and he's rarely done better in the latter. While many of his best films are among the comedies that he directed for SNL alumni Belushi and Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, An American Werewolf in London stands apart from those by casting David Naughton, Jenny Aguter, and Griffin Dunne in the parts- all practically unknowns then- and giving them some of the best kinds of genre roles imaginable. The two friends played by Naughton and Dunne are out on vacation, sort of, and they stumble upon a town loaded with superstition about wolves and other things. When Dunne gets killed and something, uh, peculiar happens to Naughton, it changes both of them- principally because Naughton keeps seeing Dunne, deteriorating throughout the rest of the film, even as he both turns into the werewolf ("Beware the moon, David, beware the moon") and falls for a kind nurse played by Aguter. All three roles are realized well, though it might be prudent to put a lot of good will on the male leads, as they both go under Rick Baker's still show-stopping make-up jobs.
This is the kind of production that could go in a few different directions, and for someone like Landis's skills it could've gone in those directions, either one, considering his background. It could have been a send-up much like his Kentucky Fried Movie. It could have been just dumb, pure camp like one of his lesser comedies of the 90s. But here he's really sticking to his guns to make it really believably scary, but also with a sly, coarse, and crude sense of humor about it. It's almost in tune to what would come a few years later with Ghostbusters, only without the mega-wit and overall mainstream appeal. It's a cult item that probably isn't seen by many as Landis's other films, yet I still remember things very well from the film years later, indelible things like the use of songs (obvious, sure, by 'moon' being all over the place, but everything from Van Morrison to CCR to the main Blue Moon theme used during the crossover are really dead-perfect for what's needed). Aside from the obvious make-up scenes, I remember being both freaked and delighted by the undead exchanges with David, especially when it finally reaches its purest absurdity in the movie theater scene.
And even the ending, unlike other Landis films, is with a tinge of tragedy and sadness. This is not the ending a typical comedy director would bring, as by now we've really gotten on the side of David, the scorned protagonist turned bloody villain by way of a curse. Some of the scenes that end up cutting back to the old rural village, as I also remember it, were not my favorite scenes as they brought more of the superstitious stuff that is not necessarily needed. It's the bits with Naughton, with Dunne, and even with the lady of the film that make it worthwhile. It's fun but not too goofy or bad B-movie-like, and it's scary without being cheap. It's basically the finest synthesis yet from the filmmaker to combine his gory theatrics with his firm, cool sense of humor. It's also one of my favorite films of 1981.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this